(Mentha x piperita L.)
Peppermint is one of the mint family of perennial herbs which grow throughout Europe, and is a hybrid cross between water mint and spearmint which spreads by rooting. Mint is rich in carotenes and vitamin C. It is also a good source of minerals including magnesium, copper, iron, potassium and calcium.1
Mint was originally used as a medicinal herb to treat stomach ache and chest pains2 and several studies support the use of peppermint for indigestion and irritable bowel syndrome.3 In 2011 Australian researchers showed, for the first time, how it helps to relieve IBS symptoms.4 Peppermint appears to act through a specific anti-pain channel called TRPM8 to reduce pain sensing fibres, particularly those activated by mustard and chilli. This finding could lead to a new type of mainstream clinical treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
Mint calms the muscles of the stomach and improves the flow of bile, which the body uses to digest fats. As a result, food passes through the stomach more quickly.5
2 The Herb Book by John Lust
3 University of Maryland Medical Centre
5 University of Maryland Medical Centre